International Patients

My name is Dr. Mark Walsh, I am a cardiologist working out of Bristol Royal Hospital for Children and the Spire hospital in the United Kingdom. I am a fully trained paediatric cardiologist and have done sub-specialty training in paediatric electrophysiology (ablation of abnormal heart rhythms). I also have expertise in a range of other paediatric electrophysiology procedures as outlined below. I perform all of the paediatric ablations in the south west of England and South Wales.

Why travel to Bristol for an electrophysiology procedure ?

Bristol is approximately two hours drive from the major London airports; it also has a major airport, with links to many major European cities. The ablations are mostly carried out at the Spire Hospital, which is situated in the heart of Bristol. We consist of a dedicated team of specialists with access to state-of-the-art equipment, which will give your child the very best chance of a successful, complication free procedure.

What are the logistics of traveling to have an ablation ?

The recovery time for an ablation is extremely quick and children are usually back to all normal activities after three days. We have had many paediatric patients travel to Bristol for an ablation, with successful outcomes. The ablations are usually carried out on Thursday or Friday. It is possible to get all of the relevant pre-procedure details prior to travelling to Bristol. Usually patients arrive one or two days prior to the procedure, and can fly back to their country of origin two days afterwards.

What conditions do we treat?

We treat any type of abnormal paediatric heart rhythm including Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome (WPW), supraventricular tachycardia (SVT), and also ventricular tachycardia. We can also arrange for pacemaker/defibrillator implantations and lead extractions. Routine ablations are usually performed at eight years of age; however, we often perform ablations in younger patients if there is a clinical indication. An ablation in a younger patient can still be undertaken with relatively low risk.

Our Results in Bristol

The chart opposite shows our ablation results in Bristol over the last 2 years; they consist mostly of patients with WPW and SVT. Our ablation results are as good as any centre of excellence in the world, with 95% of patients completely cured with a single procedure. Injuring the normal conduction system and needing a pacemaker is the main risk from a catheter ablation (approximately 1%). Thankfully in Bristol, with the use of a new technology called cryoablation, our incidence of requiring a pacemaker is 0%.

Case History:

Image 1 is a nine year old boy who had an irregular heart rhythm called ventricular tachycardia. The origin of the abnormal rhythm was in an area that was close to the left coronary artery. On the the right you can see an image which is a combination of x-ray and a 3D mapping system called CARTO. We used a freezing catheter (cryoablation) to ablate the abnormal area without any injury to the surrounding tissue. This was successful and the boy is now symptom free and doesn’t need to take any of his medications.

Cost of the procedure:

I can provide an up-to-date quote for what it will cost for a catheter ablation in Bristol: please email me for details. We can also arrange for pacemakers/defibrillators/lead extractions however the costing of these will differ. It is possible for one member of the family to to stay with your child while in hospital. There are also numerous reasonably priced hotels situated within walking distance of the hospital.

Image 1
If you are considering travelling to another centre for you child to undergo a catheter ablation, I would be delighted to discuss any aspect of the procedure with you, without any obligation. If you send me an email, we can arrange a suitable time for both of us: either by telephone or Skype. I am passionate about paediatric electrophysiology, and feel strongly that you should receive the correct information about any potential treatments that you are considering. Also, please visit my website for additional information about our service.